Wellington - Ross Taylor was dumped as captain of the New Zealand cricket team in favour of Brendon McCullum Friday and will sit out the Black Caps' upcoming tour of South Africa, officials said.
Taylor, 28, was axed after rejecting an offer to remain Test skipper while handing limited overs duties to McCullum, New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said.
White denied coach Mike Hesson had lost faith in Taylor's captaincy after a string of poor results since taking over in June 2011, but said he was concerned the skipper's duties were affecting his batting.
"He felt it would be better for Ross to focus on his game," White told reporters. "It was felt that the workload for a young captain was a lot."
Despite his team's woes, Taylor has been New Zealand's best batsman in recent Tests, averaging 43.57, and his absence will be sorely felt against South Africa, who top the Test rankings while New Zealand are placed eighth.
White said Taylor would take a break from cricket but was expected to be available for the home series against England beginning in February.
Opener McCullum, 31, has acted as captain in one-day internationals and Twenty20s but not at Test level.
New Zealand lost seven of 13 Tests under Taylor's captaincy, winning four and drawing two.
Two of the wins were against lowly Zimbabwe, with the highlights of his tenure a rare Test victory over Australia in Hobart in December last year and a series-levelling second Test victory over Sri Lanka in Colombo last month.
Over the same period, the Black Caps have lost one-day series to South Africa, the West Indies and Sri Lanka, with their sole series win against Zimbabwe.
New Zealand named the following Twenty20 and Test squads on Friday
for their tour of South Africa. New Zealand play South Africa in three
T20 matches later this month before a two-Test series starting in
Brendon McCullum (captain), Corey
Anderson, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Derek de Boorder, James Franklin,
Peter Fulton, Martin Guptill, Ronnie Hira, Nathan McCullum, Mitchell
McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Rob Nicol
Brendon McCullum (captain), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Dean Brownlie,
Daniel Flynn, James Franklin, Peter Fulton, Martin Guptill, Chris
Martin, Bruce Martin, Jeetan Patel, Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, Neil
Wagner, BJ Watling.